The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology published a new study reporting new and serious gastrointestinal issues with proton pump inhibitors, specifically Nexium and Prilosec. The comprehensive study published on January 5, 2017, studied more than half a million subjects taking a proton pump inhibitor such as Nexium and Prilosec and found that they were subject to a higher risk of bacterial infections.
“The results suggest that community prescribed [acid suppression medicines] were associated with increased rates of C. difficile and Campylobacter positive gastroenteritis in both the community and hospital settings,” study authors wrote.
The infections can cause serious abdominal pain, diarrhea, and can be lethal. About 500,000 Americans had C. diff in 2011, and 29,000 of them died within thirty days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) suppresses gastric acid and alters the susceptibility to enteric bacterial pathogens. According to research performed by Medscape, “The use of PPIs increases gastric pH, encourages growth of the gut microflora, increases bacterial translocation and alters various immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects. Enteric pathogens show variable gastric acid pH susceptibility and acid tolerance levels. By multiple mechanisms, PPIs appear to increase susceptibility to the following bacterial enteropathogens: Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni, invasive strains of Escherichia coli, vegetative cells of Clostridium difficile, Vibrio cholerae and Listeria.”
This new study demonstrates once again why proton pump inhibitor drugs such as Nexium and Prilosec are dangerous and harmful drugs in spite of the aggressive marketing efforts employed by their manufacturers. Gastric infections are just the latest in a long list of medical issues associated with these drugs. In spite of researchers’ efforts, good science is being trumped by slick marketing and celebrity pitchmen that prioritizes profits over public safety. These shameless ads should be halted immediately. They are a public health hazard.